CZW Fist Fight was the first failed attempt by CZW at an iPPV. This was one of the shows where the locker room meeting was based around “Do as many spots as possible because you’re on iPPV.” So what happens? I referee the first match between Irish Driveby (Ryan McBride & Rich Swann) and the Garden State Gods who I don’t really know who they were. Double superkicks were done 2 minutes into the match. Swann was wasted in this role as was evidenced by him succeeding in Dragon Gate USA. Garden State Gods used a double tombstone as a very non-exciting false finish. All 4 men spent the whole match in the ring together and their timing was not good.
Adam Cole, Ruckus & Sabian had a 3-way match which was perfectly fine. I told a couple people when I first saw Cole work for the first time that he was the future of the business and it’s no surprise to see where he is at now for Ring of Honor & PWG. We had a muddled finish with Ruckus getting pinned by both men to eliminate him and completely lost the crowd without Ruckus. Cole hit him with every finish and Sabian kicked out and the crowd was just not there. Cole ended up going over with a Northern Lights Suplex for the Junior Title which I think he held for a very long time.
Now during this show there was one big problem going on. No Zandig. Zandig was slated for the main event against Brain Damage and as the longer it took Zandig to get to the building Brain Damage was getting more and more nervous. At the time I knew Marvin kind of well and was just kind of checking in on him every 10 minutes or so since I was referring the match. Do you have any ideas? What do you want to do? The whole point of the match (and hence the name of the show Fist Fight) was they were to get into a big fist fight at the end for the finish to set up Zandig going into Tournament of Death.
There were four referees on the show so I had a lot of time between matches. Between myself, Nick Pappagiorgio, Brett Lauderdale & Erik Michaels there wasn’t much for me to do. We get to the Ego vs. Berk match which is on right before the Tag Team Title match which I have and still no John. Now everyone is starting to panic. Right before Cult Fiction’ music for the Tag Team Title match (the last match I ever got to referee of JC Bailey…miss you BAM) with Lucky & Bailey vs. Kingston & Younger finally he arrived. They called a couple quick spots while I was there leading to the finish and I could tell this wasn’t going to work out well. Damage was nervous and John just didn’t seem like he cared.
I get through the Tag Team Title match which is supposed to bleed into the main event which got changed because it took forever to get John in the building. Nothing really stupid happened in the Tag Team Title match other than Kingston got color for no reason I think trying to get Lucky over as a heel.
I hate working death matches. Let me just put that out there right now. Like detest it. I hate being in that element. I feel like it always puts everyone at danger and risk. I figured with Damage being nervous and I could tell John before the match didn’t think this was going to go well I had the risk of getting hurt on something stupid John would do for a pop so I did my best to keep as much distance from the two in the ring…well except for the stare down before the match. Damage and John stand off and as every referee does they get in the middle to try and separate them. Damage takes a swing at John and he ducks and it catches me right behind the ear and sort of rings my bell.
Of course there are gimmicks under the ring so the first thing John does is go underneath and grabs garbage cans and starts going to town on Damage and of course Damage gigs in 40 seconds and hits a gusher. These two did not want to work together and it was obvious. Zandig ate up Damage in the first 5 minutes of it and tried to give Damage some offense but he was obviously nervous and hesitant to do much with “The Boss.”
Then John hits a gusher and they use the barbed wire bat while a barbed wire board was moved into the ring. Directing traffic is part of a referee’s job and Damage was having problems setting up the barbed wire board on broken garbage cans so I had to hold the barbed wire board still on half a chair and a board. Recipe for disaster but somehow the suplex through the table was fine.
My favorite part of the match was coming up where Zandig gets thrown into a barbed wire board and completely no sell it and than tries to call a long spot with Marvin and then John decides f*ck it we’re going home. He powerslams Damage through a barbed wire board in the corner and than decides there’s still one more barbed wire board under the ring so we have to use that. He power bombs Damage through it. Except when Damage lands none of his body is actually touching a wrestling mat…he is sitting straight up. So what does John Zandig do? He covers him. I tell him his shoulders aren’t down. He says count anyway. So I count to 2 and stop because that’s not the finish except that Damage doesn’t move at all. So now I know I’m in trouble. Here comes the Zandig freak out.
He’s staring at me and I’m staring at him. I do what any smart man does at this point. I leave the ring. I’ve never moved fast enough out of a ring and stayed outside until they went home. Damage than gets up and throws the weakest punches of his career and knocks John down for the first of what was suppose to be 3 or 4 false finishes. Except Damage gets up and goes right to the home spot of grabbing me and John answers with the rotating clothesline and that’s the finish and I don’t even raise his hand and get the hell out of dodge.
Derek Sabato is a former backstage member of Combat Zone Wrestling. He is a current on-air talent for CHIKARA Pro. He operates and writes for The High Phive…a Philadelphia based sports blog with news & opinions at www.HighPhive.net. You can follow him on Twitter @DerekSabato and he can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].Blkout, Combat Zone Wrestling, CZW, CZW Fist Fight, independent pro wrestling, Rich Swann, Ruckus, Ryan McBride, Zandig